MSci Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course description

This course is specifically tailored to students interested in pursuing a career in research, either in academic or in industry.

Our MSci Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology course combines major topics in cognitive neuroscience and psychology to offer a broad grounding in this exciting field of behavioural science.

In contrast to the three-year BSc, this four-year MSci features a number of master's level units in third year (including coverage of Open Science principles and programming using the open-source statistical software package, R).

In the fourth year you will focus on a research project, during which you will be fully immersed in a research environment.

The psychology component of the MSci covers topics such as:

  • how humans and animals think (cognitive processes);
  • how the world is sensed (perception);
  • comparative and developmental studies;
  • abnormal psychology.

The neuroscience component of the course covers topics such as:

  • animal behaviour;
  • learning and memory;
  • the action of drugs on the nervous system;
  • how humans and animals sense and respond to their environment.

The MSci degree is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), which means as well as providing a solid foundation for a career in biological sciences, it constitutes your first step towards professional chartered psychologist status.

Special features

This is a research-oriented four-year degree with Year 3 involving a number of master's-level units where you will gain valuable data analysis experience using statistical approaches that are at the cutting edge of the discipline.

It is intended that this degree will provide a solid foundation for PhD study and increase your competitiveness in terms of securing PhD funding.

Foundation year available

You can prepare for the full degree course if you do not have the appropriate qualifications for direct entry by undertaking our foundation course first.

Teaching and learning

We use a wide range of teaching methods to suit the content and aims of each course unit:

  • Tutorials: Regular sessions with an advisor and small group of students develop your oral and written communication, IT, teamworking and problem-solving skills whilst exploring topics related to your degree discipline.
  • Lectures: Delivered to groups ranging from 20 to 650 students PowerPoint, video and interactive voting.
  • eLearning: Our virtual learning environment provides learning resources on demand (discussion boards, lecture podcasts, quizzes) to enhance and support your lecture based units.
  • Practicals: Undertake experimental techniques to develop laboratory, experimental design, and data analysis skills.
  • Seminars: Examine and debate topical areas of research to develop your critical thinking and communication skills.
  • Research projects: Carry out an independent research project in your fourth year.

Coursework and assessment

You will benefit from a wide range of teaching and learning methods that suit the content and aims of each course unit.

Assessment methods vary widely to suit the nature of the course unit and each level of study. 

Lecture units are usually assessed by written exam (multiple choice or essay-based), which are held at the end of an academic semester in either January or May/June.

Practical units are usually assessed by experimental report and/or short written assignment and/or written exam and/or presentation.

The proportion of independent study assignments increases during each year of study.

Course content for year 1

You will gain a broad introduction to biological sciences, including the nervous system and pharmacology, which are relevant to cognitive neuroscience.

Psychology topics will include social and health psychology, brain structure and function, and perception and cognition. Year 1 also provides an introduction to the essential data handling and laboratory skills required for all biological scientists.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Academic Tutorials Year 1 BIOL10000 10 Mandatory
Introduction to Laboratory Science BIOL10401 10 Mandatory
Introduction to Experimental Biology - Human Biology BIOL10422 10 Mandatory
Writing and Referencing Skills (online unit) BIOL10741 0 Mandatory
Drugs: From Molecules to Man BIOL10822 10 Mandatory
Excitable Cells: the Foundations of Neuroscience BIOL10832 10 Mandatory
Research Methods & Statistics PSYC10100 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Cognition PSYC10421 10 Mandatory
Brain & Behaviour PSYC11212 10 Mandatory
Sensation & Perception PSYC11312 10 Mandatory
Genes, Evolution and Development BIOL10521 10 Optional
Body Systems BIOL10811 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 12 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

You will continue your studies in greater depth and begin to specialise.

In the research skills unit, you will have the opportunity to carry out techniques that are widely used in current biological science research. You will also undertake a dissertation in the form of a literature review.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
2nd Year Tutorial (Sem 1 - Cognitive Neuroscience & Psychology) BIOL20021 0 Mandatory
Neuroscience RSM BIOL20922 10 Mandatory
Dissertation BIOL21090 10 Mandatory
Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action BIOL21321 10 Mandatory
Motor Systems BIOL21332 10 Mandatory
Sensory Systems BIOL21341 10 Mandatory
Perception and Action PSYC21012 10 Mandatory
Topics and Issues in Developmental Psychology PSYC21021 10 Mandatory
Cognitive Neuroscience PSYC21022 10 Mandatory
Individual Differences in Mental Health and Wellbeing PSYC21042 10 Mandatory
Statistics and Data Analysis PSYC21061 10 Mandatory
Displaying 10 of 11 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In Year 3, topics reflect the current issues within psychology and bioscience. The master's-level modules will provide more in-depth research training and introduce you to programming in the context of data science for cognitive neuroscience and psychology.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Academic Tutorials Year 3 BIOL30000 0 Mandatory
MSci Research Project Proposal BIOL33000 10 Mandatory
MSci Experimental Skills Module BIOL33012 20 Mandatory
MSci Reproducible Data Science BIOL33031 10 Mandatory
Neuroinflammation in Health & Disease (E) BIOL31612 10 Optional
Imaging in Biomedical Research (E) BIOL31631 10 Optional
Neuropharmacology of Human Health (E) BIOL31671 10 Optional
Clocks, Sleep & the Rhythms of Life (E) BIOL31681 10 Optional
Learning, Memory & Cognition (E) BIOL31692 10 Optional
Hormones & Behaviour BIOL31721 10 Optional
MSci Bioinformatics Tools and Resources BIOL33011 10 Optional
Computational Approaches to Biology BIOL33021 10 Optional
Language and Communicative Development in Educational Settings PSYC31121 20 Optional
Sociality & Communication: Evolutionary Perspectives PSYC31131 20 Optional
Qualitative Research Methods in Applied Contexts PSYC31151 20 Optional
Cases in Clinical Neuropsychology PSYC31161 20 Optional
Lifestyle Behaviour Change PSYC31212 20 Optional
Clinical Psychology PSYC31222 20 Optional
Communication in Healthcare PSYC31232 20 Optional
Psychology of Politics, Identity and Society PSYC32241 20 Optional
Landmark Studies in Perception PSYC32322 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 21 course units for year 3

Course content for year 4

In Year 4, there are no taught units but instead you will conduct a substantial research project and will be fully embedded within your supervisor¿s research team.

What our students say

Find out more about what it's like to study at Manchester on the Biology, Medicine and Health Student Blog .

Facilities

Teaching facilities

Our modern teaching labs are equipped for a range of biological, cognitive neuroscience, and biomedical techniques.

The following are just a few of the techniques you could undertake during your degree:

  • polymerase chain reaction (PCR);
  • DNA sequencing;
  • gel electrophoresis;
  • spectrophotometry;
  • dissection and histology;
  • electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiography (ECG);
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS);
  • eye-tracking during scene perception and reading;
  • immunofluorescence microscopy.

Our computing facilities include access to over 200 PCs in dedicated clusters and eLearning tools including online lecture notes, discussion boards, lecture podcasts and quizzes.

You will also have access to the University's other facilities for undergraduate students .

Research facilities

As a final year student you have the opportunity to undertake a project in the labs of our world-class researchers. To support our research we have extensive research facilities and equipment.

University facilities  

The University of Manchester offers extensive library and online services to help you get the most out of your studies.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk